At the age of nineteen, I moved from middle class suburbia, to living in a caravan in a roadside rural field. I had to quickly learn to make radical lifestyle adjustments – but had a happy three month solitary experience. My water needs were got in a gallon container from a Victorian cast-iron pump, on the outskirts of Mountmellick.
Each morning I had to empty out my chemical loo in a corner of the field. I hand washed my clothes and threw them over the bushes to dry. All this gave me a measure of insight into the lives of ‘Travellers”.
Midland nights spent all alone,
no near neighbours, nor telephone;
prayer exploded upwards in caravan,
there this late-teen turned young man
solitude was welcomed: new life plan.
Rural darkness was curtained off,
in distant fields the cattle coughed;
blessed by buttery-coloured gas-light,
pioneer bible-stories read each night;
nineteen years old, and quite alright.
Each morning emptied my portaloo
– yuck! – but what else could i do?
Caravan home in rural roadside field
hidden behind hedges, half-concealed;
I prayed seated, I never kneeled.
My water got from old hand-pump
self-consciously, squeaky rusty sump;
in that small, lonely caravan space
few friends kindled my pilgrim place:
reassuring smiles on God’s good face.
Soon my caravan adventure ended –
(did i mention “Traveller” horses befriended?)
one midnight hour my dwelling rocked,
I grabbed my torch, half-door unlocked:
large equine eyes gazed back, equally shocked…
photo credit: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2588879